Harnessing tech to make sense of SEND law

14 March 2023

Support SEND Kids' logo

Support SEND Kids was founded two years ago by lawyers, to address the difficulty families have in engaging with the notoriously complex Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) legal system.

The charity wanted to harnesses the latest technology to share legal and professional knowledge in order to empower Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) families to understand the law and feel confident in requesting the help their child is entitled to.

Their plan involved collating and curating free, dynamic, accessible, searchable data that could be contributed to by families and professionals alike. They also wanted to maintain a ‘no nonsense’ guide to SEN law, as well as design and digitise an improved EHCP process with an interactive workflow on their website.

At the end of 2021, the WCIT Charity awarded a grant of £9,783 to help the Support SEND Kids achieve this plan.

Throughout 2022, the charity was successful in expanding the information available on its platform, with 274 questions being asked and 265 answered. As every Q&A remains on the website, it will create a vast database of knowledge for future visitors. Data shows that at least nine solicitors, five barristers and four law consultancies are engaging with the site, and it is hoped many more legal professionals will become involved.

The charity also successfully launched its ‘no nonsense’ guide. However, when Support SEND Kids started work on the new online ECHP ‘roadmap’ it was clear that they needed an overall plan for the offering which would guard against introducing further complexity – something which could threaten to overwhelm families who are already facing difficult times. It was therefore agreed that the remaining grant should be spent in engaging a user experience agency to deliver the plan. The agency worked with Support SEND Kids to build personas for all the different users and understand their goals and the process they would go through – an unexpected outcome of this process was the importance of finding a universal navigation taxonomy that resonated equally well with families, lawyers and SEND professionals. Wireframes and user journeys were then created to ensure that those goals would be met with minimum friction through the user interface.

The design has since been delivered and Support SEND Kids is currently working through an implementation plan.

Many parents say thank you on the website, and this is just one of the responses to Support SEND Kids’ free and helpful services: “I wanted to say thank you so much to Support SEND Kids and all the lawyers who have answered my questions. You offer an invaluable service. Other charities give advice but I haven’t found anyone else doing what you do, which is have lawyers answer specific questions publicly. It means I can be confident I am getting professional, reliable answers and I can search other questions to find my ‘unknown unknowns’. Thanks to everyone involved.”


An example of the ECHP roadmap

The EHCP ‘roadmap’ landing page shown above guides SEND families through the process of applying for and maintaining an EHCP. It highlights potential obstacles, where legal guidance is needed to help parents, their rights and best practice. Each step links to the Q&A platform and the ‘no-nonsense’ guides to SEND law. The structure of the roadmap will form the new navigation system for users.